Changing the Tables

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A few months before Louisa was born, I grabbed a basic changing table for $30.  It tucks into our room and is great.  But it’s not sturdy enough to grow with her, so time for an upgrade!

changing table over view

Louisa’s room is the shiny new room we put in over the garage and the colors are  navy blue with some hints of green.  I found this solid wood dresser on Craigslist for $40.  If you’re anti painted furniture then read no further.  Spoiler alert… I painted it.  (I checked for a maker’s mark… nada; also, I didn’t love the stain color and wasn’t in the mood to strip, sand, restain, etc.)

dresser before

You’ve read about lots of these painted Craigslist pieces on this blog, but quick recap of what I look for when buying used furniture: dovetailed joints, solid wood construction (note the bottom of the drawers are wood vs. particle board, etc.), and interesting lines.

dovetail close

drawer bottom

leg detail

I learned my lesson from the ombre that never was and started by labeling where each drawer fit.  After removing the drawer pulls, I used Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue chalk paint.  This color is beautiful, incidentally… a nice rich blue.

numbered drawers

Typically, I like to bring in more contemporary drawer pulls to update older pieces a bit, but these were in mint condition.  Kinda.  They required a date with some Brasso and a pair of rubber gloves, but heck… what’s a Saturday night without some rubber gloves, right?  (Check out this fun post from Kate to get a little more intel on your brass hardware….)  They started out like this:

drawer pull before

After soaking for 20″, they looked like the one on the right… the one on the left had another round of soaking.  I used a toothbrush to get in the nooks and crannies and then some steel wool to really clean these bad boys up.

brass compare

brass soaking

I mean… hard to believe it’s the same hardware!

drawer pulls

There have been lots of really cool images on the intrawebs of fabric wrapped furniture.  There’s a lot of pattern in the room already, but I loved the idea of jazzing up this dresser just a bit.  Many of the pieces I saw, mentioned this video from Martha Stewart about wrapping a table in linen with polycrylic and then ironing to adhere it.  I only used a piece of fabric for the top, obviously.  I measured and cut my fabric… I was going to fold under the seams to prevent fraying, but this is a heavier fabric so I didn’t want a ridge along the edge.  I used a super sharp rotary cutter to minimize the fraying and placed it carefully on the polycrylic.  I ironed the fabric in place and went back over it with 3 more layers of polycrylic being careful to smooth and seal any little threads along the edge.  So far, no fraying…

dresser after

Isn’t it fun?  This fabric was in my scrap pile but it happens to pick up the color of the brass drawer pulls perfectly.  I love that you don’t notice the fabric from a distance but when you come closer, it’s a nice little howdoyoudo.  We’ll put the changing pad right on top of the dresser when the time comes, but for now I like looking at my pretty pretty fabric.

dresser wide

dresser bear

Apologies to the non-painters of you out there… it’s not that I don’t like the wood stain, but I LOVE the paint and fabric.  I mean, I did polish and preserve the brass hardware!  Reminder of the before:

dresser before

And the after:

dresser after

Fun, right? Can we talk about the magic that is brass polish, by the way?!

fabric topped dresser

XO Charlotte
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  1. Jill says

    I LOVE it!! This is one of my faves by far!!!! Why not submit this to the contest? I’m in love. AND I recognize the fabric. :)

  2. Elizabeth F says

    We have the exact same dresser in the before version. I love your after. Can I ask what brand and color paint you used? (Forgive me if you posted it, I didn’t see it.) Thanks.

    • Charlotte says

      Hey Elizabeth, I think I mentioned somewhere but it’s Annie Sloan chalk paint in Napoleonic blue. A really great color! :)

  3. says

    Omg! I love everything about this!! You’re a genius! I’ve otta try it out now! “”What’s a Saturday night without rubber gloves”! My new fave quote! Looking forward to more of your posts.!! Looove this!

  4. Debbie C says

    Bar Keepers Friend also works great on cleaning brass hardware! Soak hardware in a container with water/ Bar Keeper for about 10-20 minutes, depending on dirtiness.
    Use old t- shirt to rub or toothbrush for detail areas. For stubborn areas, apply Bar Keepers to hardware. I like it because there is hardly any odor as opposed to Brasso.

    • Charlotte says

      Really?! Debbie, thanks for this tip! I always have some of that kicking around. And you’re right… the Brasso odor is strong and lingers! :) Thanks!

  5. says

    Hey Charlotte – have you noticed the fabric yellowing at all? I’m about to do this, but with pretty light colored fabric – so I’m stuck on what to seal it with!

    • Charlotte says

      Heather, The link everyone seems to be copying form Martha Stewart Living uses a linen… which is on the paler side. I’d guess it doesn’t yellow too much or else they might have said something. But mine is brand new so too soon to tell.

  6. Misty says

    I’m getting ready to redo a dresser for a changing station (baby due in December) and I’ve never seen one with fabric. I love the idea! Thanks for sharing.

    • Charlotte says

      Thanks, Misty! Sorry to be slow replying… all my blog comments just started going to spam. Gah! I loved how simple it was and it adds SUCH a nice little hit of interest. Go for it!

  7. elizabeth says

    I stumbled across this post a few days ago when I was looking for ideas for fixing up a dresser/side table I found at Habitat for Humanity. The top had the most damage and I love what you did with the fabric because I can replace the damaged top without having to worry about finding the right type of wood. I was wondering; however, what type of fabric did you use? You mentioned it was heavier or thicker – is it a specialty upholstery fabric or outdoor fabric?

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth!
      This would be perfect for what you’re describing. I would say the heavier the better… especially if you’re dealing with damaged wood that might have some texture to it… that might still come through under the fabric if it’s REALLY rough. I’d say heavy upholstery is best… only because it was nice to have the fabric saturated with the polycrylic. I feel like an outdoor fabric *might* have some waterproof-ness too it that could affect the polycrylic absorbing into it? That said, I’ve also used very thin cotton fabric and it was great… you can just see much more of the surface beneath it… If you go with a lighter cotton, I’d prime the top white first and make sure it’s sanded pretty smooth.
      Good luck!!

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